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News in the Humanosphere: FDA proposes Zika blood transfusion ban

Food and Drug Administration Headquarters building in Silver Spring, MD. Photo by Alison Young/ USA TODAY [Via MerlinFTP Drop]

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommended on Tuesday that blood should no longer be collected from regions where the Zika virus is circulating, and that blood needed for transfusions be obtained from areas of the country without active transmission. The agency said blood banks can continue collecting and preparing platelets and plasma if an FDA-approved pathogen-reduction technology is used. Current pathogen-reduction technology is not approved to treat whole red blood, which is used for most transfusions. (Reuters

RIP, Boutros Boutros-Ghali…The sixth U.N. Secretary-General died Tuesday. He was beloved in much of the world but had a rocky relationship with the United States. (UN Dispatch

American journalists released in Bahrain… Four U.S. journalists arrested in Bahrain while covering the anniversary of the island nation’s 2011 uprising were charged, released and flew out of the country Tuesday, a lawyer said. (AP

Apology of the day: Eight-time world boxing champion Manny Pacquiao apologized on Tuesday for describing homosexuals as “worse than animals” after his remarks sparked a firestorm of criticism in his native Philippines. (AFP

Stat of the day: The amount of money migrant workers worldwide sent to Latin America and the Caribbean reached $68.3 billion in 2015, surpassing a pre-recession peak of $64.5 billion in 2008, according to a report set to be released on Tuesday. (WSJ )

Uganda Votes

Ugandans go to the polls tomorrow for elections that could challenge Yoweri Museveni’s three-decade hold on power. But so far, the elections do not seem to be shaping up to be free or fair. Here are two stories that paint a bleak picture of Ugandan politics ahead of the big elections.

1) The leading challenger to Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni said on Tuesday he had no confidence that elections this week would be free or fair and accused the police of increasing violence ahead of the vote. (Reuters

2) An opposition supporter in Uganda was fatally shot Monday in clashes with the police during a campaign event in the capital, the police and a presidential candidate said Tuesday, raising concern over the role of the security forces in tight presidential elections Thursday. (AP


Cameroon’s special forces have killed 162 Boko Haram militants in Nigeria’s northeastern town of Goshi, destroying bomb factories and weapons to retake the extremist stronghold, the government said. (AP

The number of U.N. peacekeepers killed in an Islamist attack on their base in Mali has risen to seven following the death of a female force member evacuated to Senegal, the regional deployment said Tuesday. (AFP

Doctors Without Borders treated more than 60 people on Monday morning after a series of grenade explosions in several locations across the capital city of Bujumbura, Burundi. (MSF

A one-day general strike in the Democratic Republic of Congo paralyzed most economic activity in the capital on Tuesday in a bid to pressure President Joseph Kabila to quit power when his mandate ends in December. (Reuters

The United Nations is investigating fresh allegations of sexual abuse in the Central African Republic, where peacekeepers have been hit with numerous charges of sexual abuse over the past year, a U.N. spokesman said on Monday. (Reuters

Water ATMs are delivering clean water in Nairobi’s slums and cutting through the water cartel’s power. (Guardian


Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and some European allies want ground troops deployed in Syria but there is no consensus in the coalition and a strategy for such an operation has not been seriously debated, Turkey’s foreign minister told Reuters. (Reuters

Russia on Tuesday rebuffed claims that its warplanes struck a hospital supported by Doctors Without Borders in northern Syria in airstrikes the previous day that killed at least nine as Syrian government forces and a predominantly Kurdish coalition made gains against rivals in the country’s north. (AP

Israeli forces briefly detained two Washington Post journalists in Jerusalem on Tuesday on suspicion of inciting violence, but released them without charge, officials said. (AFP


Students, journalists and teachers protested inside a university campus in the Indian capital Tuesday, demanding the release of an arrested student leader and denouncing violence by Hindu nationalists. (AP

Two Uighur Muslims from China pleaded innocent Tuesday to carrying out the deadly bombing of a Bangkok landmark last year, with one man’s lawyer saying his client claims to have been tortured to elicit a confession. (AP

The U.N. human rights chief on Tuesday called on China to immediately release all lawyers it has in detention, after raising concerns with Chinese authorities over a crackdown against government critics, legal experts and advocacy groups in recent months. (AP

South Korea’s president warned Tuesday that North Korea faces collapse if it doesn’t abandon its nuclear bomb program, an unusually strong broadside that will likely infuriate Pyongyang. (AP

A legal challenge to the Philippines’ rules on genetically modified organisms is threatening to spark a food crisis in the country and could cloud the outlook for GM technology around Asia. (Reuters

A former journalist with China’s official news agency says he has been blocked from traveling to the United States to accept a Harvard University prize for a 2008 book uncovering the devastating toll of the Great Chinese Famine of 1958-1961. (AP

Tibet’s Lhasa River is being turned into a series of artificial lakes, according to Chinese state media. (VOA

The Americas

The United States and Cuba signed an agreement on Tuesday morning to resume commercial air traffic for the first time in five decades, starting the clock on dozens of new flights operating daily by next fall. (Miami Herald

Mexico has confirmed six pregnant women are infected with the Zika virus, bringing the total number of cases in the country to 80, the government said. (Reuters

Managers of a state-run supermarket chain in Venezuela are among 49 people arrested for hoarding and reselling food at a time of acute shortages, the government said. (AFP

Alarm over the Zika epidemic spreading across the Americas has been chiefly over birth defects, but frontline physicians believe a surge in Guillain-Barre cases may also be related. (AP

…and the rest

The World Health Organization backed trials of genetically modified mosquitoes that could be used in the fight against the Zika virus. (BBC

Migrants avoiding Austria’s new border control point will not find easier routes elsewhere, Chancellor Werner Faymann told a news conference on Tuesday, because countries along the migration route had coordinated a “domino effect” of border restrictions. (Reuters


Elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo Could Mean Trouble (UN Dispatch

After 60 years of Zika in Asia, why worry? (IRIN

Secret aid worker: I hate calling refugees to tell them they’re not getting resettled (Guardian

TPP’s Threat To Multilateralism (IPS

Ugandan elections: what you need to know (Guardian

Protecting women and children in Zika-affected countries (Devex

Is Sunlight Really a Good Disinfectant? The Equivocal Evidence on Freedom of Information Laws and Corruption (Global Anticorruption Blog

Uganda is a land of entrepreneurs, but how many startups survive? (Guardian

Cultural Appropriation: Sub-continent style (Cherokee Gothic

How NGOs Use Technology In Africa (Development Diaries

Education for all in a “rising Africa” (Africa Can End Poverty


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